Thursday, November 29, 2012

Materials Handling Experts Find Economical Solution for New Distribution Centre

Sometimes New is Cheaper Than Trying to Recycle Everything
Shipping News Feature

UK – Sometime when one operates a busy distribution facility it can be easy when having a major facilities swap to try to utilise as much of the materials handling equipment as possible. As the following case shows however whether a freight and logistics terminal or a busy manufacturer sometimes a complete rethink can prove more profitable. Automotive components distributors First Line strip incoming loads from shipping containers then stow within a racked consolidation area before being broken down and allocated a warehouse location.

After consolidating its two warehouses into one, 130,000 square foot, Bicester based facility automotive First Line has opted for a combination of new and refurbished trucks to operate at the new terminal as a cost saving measure following a suggestion to the company by materials handling and logistics solutions specialists Jungheinrich. Over £9 million in stock value is held at the new distribution centre in a mix of high bay pallet racking and small parts storage units.

At its original two sites, First Line had operated a mixed fleet of rail-guided order picking trucks. During the planning stage of the move to its new site the company had initially planned to reconfigure the existing trucks to allow them to operate on a wire guided system but given the age of the existing trucks and the expense involved in adjusting the equipment’s operating process, Jungheinrich proposed replacing the trucks with purpose-built wire guided machines and, to minimize costs, suggested using a combination of new and refurbished equipment.

Jungheinrich supplied two EKX 410 Kombis (combination picker/stacker trucks) – one new and one refurbished. The electric powered Kombi truck can be used for stacking and retrieving pallets as well as for picking individual articles. Capable of lifting loads weighing up to 1,000 kg to heights of over nine metres, the trucks’ 3-phase AC technology ensures the highest levels of efficiency. The company says that its used trucks are comprehensively refurbished with every machine dismantled and all worn out parts are replaced ready for safety testing. Neil Warren, Jungheinrich’s Used Equipment and Short Term Rental Director explained:

“Because we refurbish our trucks to such a high standard, the operating costs of a used Jungheinrich truck will be similar to a new model, which means that our fully refurbished trucks will give many years of efficient and productive service. Our aim is to help clients manage their forklift cost base effectively and we were able to demonstrate the benefits that switching a percentage of its fleet to used trucks would bring to First Line.”

As part of the consultation process on the project Jungheinrich were also able to offer some useful advice regarding the proposed use of racking at the new site. First Line had initially planned to reuse much of the racking system from their original buildings within the new facility. First Line’s Rob Currill commented:

“Like any business, we strive to remain lean and had planned to recycle our racking. However, Jungheinrich’s consultants were able to demonstrate that not only was our existing racking not fit for purpose, but that opting for a new system, would actually be less expensive than taking down, reconfiguring and erecting our old system within the new store. While some of the existing system has been reused on the goods-in consolidation area, we now have a purpose designed high bay storage cube produced from brand new racking.”

Photo: EKX 410 Kombis in action.